Samba troubleshooting tips and techniques

Richard Sharpe sharpe at
Tue Jan 12 08:48:34 GMT 1999


one of the ways to become a Samba expert is to (help) write a book about
Samba :-)

I feel that I am now beginning to approach expert status.

One of the chapters I am responsible for in the book I am helping with is
on troubleshooting.

I am interested in troubleshooting approaches that people use so I can add
to those that I use.  When I get the list together, I will post it here,
and it may end up on a web page somewhere as well.  I think it only fair
that I post a list of all the troubleshooting hists people provide, so that
other who are writing books can have a larger list to work with than just
their own experience as well :-)

In what follows, if you detect any lapses in my writing, please forgive me.
 I have written about 12,000 or so words in the last week, and have a
further 30,000 to go in the next three weeks.

OK, to start off:

1. Is Samba running?

    ps ax | grep mbd # look for nmbd (possibly 2) and 1+n smbd

2. Is the problem with Samba, the client, or the network?

    standard network debugging stuff here, ping from client to server
    if all works, is name server working OK, is WINS configured correctly,
    and so on.

    Ie, a ping of the NetBIOS name of the server from a Windows client will
    determine if NetBIOS Name Services are working or not. (OK, as long as 
    you have DNS switched off and the name is not in the hosts or the lmhosts
3. Stopping debugging for all clients so you can focus on one client

    include = /wherever/%m.smb.conf

   and in /wherever/%m.smb.conf add

    debug level = 5 ; or more

   then look at the log files for that machine

4. Check the log files looking for specific message types

5. Use smbclient to probe your Samba server to make sure it looks right

6. Use testparm to check that your smb.conf file is OK and does not have

7. Use netmon to monitor the traffic looking for problems :-)

8. Clairvoyance :-)

Richard Sharpe, sharpe at, NIC-Handle:RJS96
NS Computer Software and Services P/L, 
Ph: +61-8-8281-0063, FAX: +61-8-8250-2080, 
Samba, Linux, Apache, Digital UNIX, AIX, Netscape, Stronghold, C, ...

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